GUEST BLOG: Biking in all weathers

Hey folks! Here’s a guest post from Kassia Arbabi, who gets around town largely on two wheels.

When the temperature dropped in mid-January and the snow started falling, this biker-chick was inclined to hole up at home for a few days. (Thankfully, my flexible work schedule allows for this…a side benefit of avoiding the “job to pay for car to drive to work” cycle.) The weather was gnarly and it was no fun to be on a bike whizzing down hills with icy air penetrating all layers.

When it was finally time to venture out, I was happy to use our truck share. This little 1986 Toyota pickup is co-owned by five people. We have a pretty simple cost- and use- share system, and can sign it out on a Google calendar. My partner and I coordinated our schedules and errands, and he dropped me off for my cleaning shift at Alexander House and then ran up to 29N and Pantops to pick up his bike from the shop and drop off the hostel’s tax info with the CPA. Then he swung back and picked me up, and we headed home to hole up for the rest of the day.

On the days when the truck is unavailable, I have my winter-biking outfits. Legwarmers, warms socks, huge mittens, a big scarf or neck warmer and a couple layers of wool generally do the trick. It’s all about keeping the coldest bits cozy, and then it can be quite invigorating to bike in the crazy temps.

And when the weather finally broke, I was happy to load up my bike with gym clothes and fiddle and swoop downtown in the sun for some mid-winter busking. Afterward, I dropped by Market Street Market to pick up some pitas for dinner, cramming them in to my already slightly overflowing panniers. I finally headed over to the hostel for our weekly meeting, turning down a ride home afterwards from my housemate/co-hosteler who has a truck. This was bikin’ weather! The spring feverish weather even induced me to invite my boyfriend for a milkshake on the mall, and we got special permission from Timberlakes to bring the glass outside and enjoy the last bits of sunny blueness.

Next up was a couple days of rain, which calls for breaking out the rain pants. Having lived in Portland, Oregon for a couple of months, where the cyclists are as ubiquitous as the rain, I can’t really make an exemption claim for wet weather. There, not biking in the rain means not leaving home for five months.

Again, it’s all about the gear. The trickiest bit, in my opinion, is keeping socks dry, which I have not yet perfected. If it’s a downpour, I usually just bring along a change of clothes. Or wait ‘til the rain lightens up, which doesn’t usually take too long. That’s a favorite lesson from being bike dependent in foul weather: Sometimes going nowhere is the best idea of all.

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